I don’t get political here because this is a blog about travel. However, after traveling to the RNC in Tampa FL, I have reached the conclusion that the conventions are an exercise staged exclusively for the media. While this might not be news to most of you, it was a little bit of a surprise to me. I was clinging to a thread of a notion that the political conventions served some purpose, other than to provide fodder for news outlets (The Wall Street Journal included). However, after having a little time do to the delay in the RNC starting by a day, I did a little research and discovered what the delegates actually do.
What do today’s delegates do at the convention? They may discuss party issues, listen to speeches, and participate in party “pep rallies.” But for the most part, nothing political actually happens at political conventions in the 21st century. The convention concludes with a carefully planned speech by the party’s nominee for president, whose identity has been known for months.
The climax of these little shin-digs is supposed to be the “acceptance” of the candidacy of the nominee for the office of president. In the case of the RNC 2012, this acceptance speech was proceeded by a lot, and I mean a lot, of trite rethoric by key party members about the nommiees humanity, and general qualifications for the job. It includes a lot of bashing of the other party, even worse if they are challenging a current administration. Of course, that’s easy…the current adminstaration has had 3.5 years of mistakes to give the challenging party lots of material for critisism and jokes. Politics is like that, ok, I understand.
What I object to is the huge amount of money that is spent in the running of these political clambakes. The RNC spent 2.5 million on the stage alone. A stage on which they talked about the high unemployment rate and there being no money in the economy. This money in addition to the $20 million spent to re-do the venue, The Tampa Bay Times Forum, and un-told and un-reported millions spent on security, staging, hotels, parties, and screen-printed sunglasses.
The Democratic National Convention, which I will be traveling to Charlotte for next week, spent and estimated $7 million on re-doing their venue, The Time Warner Cable Arena (what a sexy name) but no figures yet on what they spent on everything else. I do know that what they might not spend on sets, they will spend on venues. They are having their little party in two different locations, the Time Warner Cable Arena and The Bank of America Stadium, so I am sure the costs are on par with the Republicans.
All this to project an image. I sat and watched and listened to the delegates on the floor this week and was still amazed at the human pact mentality and how everyone wants to belong to something and if that something is vehemently aganist someone else’s something then it is all the stronger. I guess the RNC provides a place for them to reinforce their Republicanism and assure themselves that God and the power of right is on their side still. I did feel like telling the various speakers at the podium all week as they preached to the 4,405 delegates int he hall, “Hey, calm down, don’t worry, you already have these guy’s votes. It’s the other millions of americans who aren’t here that you have to worry about.”
Will the DNC be any different? The Democratic party certainly hopes it will be perceived that way. I will see what happens in Charlotte, and get back to you.